"The best health care system in the world." That's what Republicans told us we had back in 1994 when they killed the last attempt at reforming the American system. John McCain still believes it and claims it. Anything was better, it seems, than giving the Democrats a winning issue.
So where are we 10 years later? The US ranks 43rd in the world in infant mortality, and 41st in the world in life expectancy. Overall, our health care ranks just behind Costa Rica. But first in the world in per-capita cost. Third-world-class health care, at Rolls-Royce prices.
And the public has finally had enough.
|Only minor changes needed:||16%|
|Fundamental changes needed:||50%|
You saw that right: twice as many Americans support a blow-it-up-and-start-all-over strategy, like single payer, as support the GOP do-nothing-and-wish approach.
Over the past 40 years, the insurance industry has proven, over and over again, that the classic capitalist for-profit system simply doesn't work for health care. In a capitalist system, a company does best when it makes the best product and sells it to the most customers. More customers means more profit.
But that's not the way the health insurance industry works. In health insurance, you make the most money by driving away customers -- those customers who are sick. You do it by raising their premiums when they get sick, or cancelling their coverage all together. Anything you can do to drive those people to your competitor increases your profit.
Make no mistake about it. The health insurance industry in the United States turns a profit by allowing sick people to die. It's immoral, it's unconscionable, and it does not deserve the support of the government, nor of any decent person.
So it's time for us to push hard to move the Overton Window on health care. Obama's plan is a stopgap, and probably represents the best he thinks he can realistically get against a health insurance industry and it's parliament of whores.
And McCain's "plan"? If you are unemployed, have no insurance, and have a pre-existing condition, the John McCain health plan amounts to this: show up at an emergency room and beg for charity.
It's time for progressives to stand up and push hard for single payer as the best option. Read Dr. Steve's diary, get involved, talk to your congresspeople and candidates. This poll shows that the public is behind us, that the mainstream is on the left. Now is the time! Push for it!